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When It All Falls Down

Balloon Juice - 2 hours 6 min ago

People are weird:

Bitcoin is in the “mania” phase, with some people even borrowing money to get in on the action, securities regulator Joseph Borg told CNBC on Monday.

“We’ve seen mortgages being taken out to buy bitcoin. … People do credit cards, equity lines,” said Borg, president of the North American Securities Administrators Association, a voluntary organization devoted to investor protection. Borg is also director of the Alabama Securities Commission.

“This is not something a guy who’s making $100,000 a year, who’s got a mortgage and two kids in college ought to be invested in.”

Bitcoin has been soaring all year, starting out at $1,000 and rocketing above $19,000 on the Coinbase exchange last week. The price on Coinbase, which accounts for a third of bitcoin trading value, is often at a premium over other exchanges.

The cryptocurrency was trading at just under $16,700 on Coinbase at 2:21 p.m. New York time Monday.

I kinda feel like people buying bitcoin right now are the folks who headed to the Gold Rush in California in 1856. Just a couple years late, guys. But who knows!

At any rate, if there is a bitcoin crash, what impact could it have on the economy?

Categories: Politics

9to5Toys Lunch Break: Amazon Mac Accessory Sale, Sonos deals from $134, Netgear Arlo System $300, more

9to5Mac - 2 hours 6 min ago

Keep up with the best gear and deals on the web by signing up for the 9to5Toys Newsletter. Also, be sure to check us out on: TwitterRSS FeedFacebookGoogle+ and Safari push notifications. more…

Categories: Misc

We've Toned Down the 'Destroying Society' Shtick, Facebook Insists

Slashdot - 2 hours 17 min ago
Facebook has taken the unusual step of responding to comments by former VP Chamath Palihapitiya that the social media giant was "destroying how society works." Palihapitiya said that executives ignored cautionary instincts when creating Facebook, and he now regretted the consequences. In a statement, Facebook said: Chamath has not been at Facebook for over 6 years. When Chamath was at Facebook we were focused on building new social media experiences and growing Facebook around the world. Facebook was a very different company back then, and as we have grown, we have realized how our responsibilities have grown too. We take our role very seriously and we are working hard to improve. We've done a lot of work and research with outside experts and academics to understand the effects of our service on well-being, and we're using it to inform our product development. We are also making significant investments more in people, technology and processes, and -- as Mark Zuckerberg said on the last earnings call -- we are willing to reduce our profitability to make sure the right investments are made.

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Categories: Misc

Brian Kilmeade Shocked Sessions 'Could Never Preside Over A Russia Investigation'

Crooks and Liars - 2 hours 19 min ago

DOJ Spox Sarah Isgur Flores had to explain to Fox and Friends host Brian Kilmeade that since Sessions was a senior advisor to Trump's team, he had to recuse himself from any investigations into the campaign.

Kilmeade angrily said, "I wonder why he took the job then."

After a new report came out saying an FBI agent told an aide to Sessions that in his official capacities as a Senator, he wasn't required to reveal his foreign contacts, the right wing media circus went ballistic.

Suddenly they believe that Sessions did not have to recuse himself from the Russia investigations so that he could imitate Rep. Devin Nunes' despicable behavior trying to undermine his own Committee's work and either shield or torpedo all aspects of any investigation into the Trump administration.

Trump's favorite team of Fox News talking heads brought on the DOJ's spokesperson Sarah Isgur Flores to discuss a DOJ official named Bruce Ohr.

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Categories: Politics

Donald Trump’s Gillibrand Tweet, Explained

Kevin Drum - 2 hours 24 min ago

Everyone wants to know what this tweet means:

I’m here to help. As you know, I’ve long been a proponent of the theory that Trump’s tweets are designed primarily (solely?) to create an alternate universe for his fans. They aren’t meant for the rest of us. But I’m now edging toward accepting a different theory: they are meant to keep Trump’s name in the news because he really likes it when CNN talks about him. As the New York Times put it, “One former top adviser said Mr. Trump grew uncomfortable after two or three days of peace and could not handle watching the news without seeing himself on it.”

Trump has real talent at self-promotion, and a sort of animal cunning about what kinds of insinuations will get everyone talking. The obvious insinuation here is that Gillibrand did something sexual, but Trump didn’t actually say that and can self-righteously deny it if anyone mentions it.

So that’s what this is all about. It puts Trump back in the news and might even give him an opportunity to launch another wave of FAKE NEWS tweets. What’s not to like?

Categories: Politics

You can now follow specific hashtags in your main Instagram feed

iDownloadBlog - 2 hours 31 min ago

Instagram announced this morning that the ability to follow specific hashtags from the main feed is now available to users of its mobile app for iPhone.... Read the rest of this post here

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Categories: Misc

Here’s How Fox ‘Covered’ The Press Conference Of Donald Trump’s Accusers

Crooks and Liars - 2 hours 36 min ago
Here’s How Fox ‘Covered’ The Press Conference Of Donald Trump’s Accusers

This Monday, Brave New Films held a press conference with three of the women who have accused Donald Trump of sexual misconduct. The very brief report on Fox News seemed designed more to provide Trump’s response than the women’s accusations.

As you can see below, the press conference lasted about a half hour. Fox’s report lasted a little over one minute. There was no audio of what any of the women said. Anchor Bill Hemmer spoke over the footage, which also included b-roll footage of Trump.

HEMMER: A group of women now who have publicly accused President Trump of sexual harassment and assault now speaking out about their experience. This is a news conference: Lexington Hotel, New York City, hosted by Brave New Films. The women expected to call for accountability and a Congressional investigation of alleged sexual misconduct by the president.

That was it for the press conference. If you wanted to know any of the women’s experiences or feelings, you were SOL if Fox was your only source of news this morning.

However, Hemmer spent just as much (in fact a tad more) time on Trump’s response.

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Categories: Politics

Instagram now lets you follow specific hashtags in your main feed

9to5Mac - 2 hours 40 min ago

After announcing new features for Stories last week, Instagram is now rolling out support for following hashtags. This capability has been hitting accounts over the last 24 hours and makes it easier for users to follow a specific topic or person they might have interest in.


Categories: Misc

“Southern Heritage” Open Thread: Roy Moore’s Rebel Yawps

Balloon Juice - 2 hours 48 min ago

If your social media this morning seems to include an awful lot of rude / despairing comments about Alabama, there are reasons. The resentful Confederate revanchists let their filters take the night off, and the results were… pretty much what you’d expect, all crammed together at one busy rally. Buzzfeed reports, “Roy Moore’s Last And Weirdest Campaign Event“:

Roy Moore’s closing argument was an airing of grievances.

In his first appearance on the campaign trail in nearly a week, the Senate candidate in Alabama complained bitterly about how he’s been treated by the media, by supporters of his Democratic opponent, and by establishment Republicans. And, facing allegations of sexual misconduct that could cost him Tuesday’s special election here, he lashed out again at his accusers.

“I want you to understand this,” said Moore, who’s been accused of making sexual advances on a minor, sexually assaulting a 16-year-old, and pursuing romantic relationships with other teens. “The Washington Post put out this terrible, disgusting article, saying I had done something. I want you to understand something. They said these women … had not come forward for nearly 40 years, but they waited until 30 days before this general election to come forward.”…

The Election Eve rally inside a special events barn in southeast Alabama featured a lineup of right-wing speakers, headlined by Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert and Steve Bannon, the Breitbart executive chairman and former chief strategist for President Donald Trump. But Kayla Moore’s comments — and her husband’s outrage — stood out most. Polls are all over the place in the race’s closing days, but the accusations against Moore helped turned what should have been an easy win for Republicans into a battle with Democrat Doug Jones. Moore’s frustration was evident.

At one point, he alluded to Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby, a Republican who doesn’t support him and who went on CNN on Sunday to say the “Republican Party can do better.” Moore didn’t mention Shelby’s name, only that he was among the senators opposed to his candidacy. The National Republican Senatorial Committee stopped funding Moore after the accusations…

Remember, Shakedown Shelby’s gonna have to work with this gomer, should Doug Jones not eke out a well-deserved win. To quote that book Moore fans wave around (but don’t read), They have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind… “

Will tuck the universally croggled observers’ tweets below the fold, so don’t say I never spared you anything…

Also, we have a Black Friend…


And for the big crowd-pleasing closer:

Categories: Politics

iMac Pro ships with a special black Lightning cable from Apple

iDownloadBlog - 2 hours 51 min ago

Apple is on track to launch this Thursday the fastest Mac it’s built to date, the all-new $4,999 iMac Pro, and already hands-on YouTube videos are popping up all over the place.... Read the rest of this post here

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Categories: Misc

SEC Warns 'Extreme Caution' Over Cryptocurrency Investments As Many People Take Out Mortgages To Buy Bitcoin

Slashdot - 2 hours 57 min ago
The head of the US Securities and Exchange Commission has warned bitcoin and other cryptocurrency investors to beware of scams and criminal activity in the sector. In the financial regulator's strongest statement yet, SEC chair Jay Clayton said: "If a promoter guarantees returns, if an opportunity sounds too good to be true, or if you are pressured to act quickly, please exercise extreme caution and be aware of the risk that your investment may be lost." The warning comes at a time when many people have begun to take out mortgages to buy bitcoin. From a report: Clayton's statement was also issued the same day the SEC took regulatory action to halt an initial coin offering (ICO). "Recognize that these markets span national borders and that significant trading may occur on systems and platforms outside the United States. Your invested funds may quickly travel overseas without your knowledge," he wrote, in a sentence that was in bold. Clayton's statement referenced some of the crucial debates that have swirled around the rise and regulation of crypto-assets like bitcoins. Are these currencies? Commodities? Or securities? The statement notes in a footnote that bitcoin in the US has been designated a commodity. But the broader answer seems to be that while it depends from case to case, initial coin offerings, at least, are more likely to be scrutinized and held to the same bar as securities offerings.

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Categories: Misc

Rendell endorses Democrat Connie Pillich for Ohio governor

Medina Gazette - 2 hours 59 min ago

COLUMBUS — Democratic gubernatorial candidate Connie Pillich got the backing of former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell on Tuesday, and the two plan on hitting the campaign trail.

Categories: Misc

Spurned medical marijuana applicant pushes new pot issue

Medina Gazette - 2 hours 59 min ago

COLUMBUS — A high-profile proponent of marijuana legalization who was spurned as an applicant for a medical marijuana grower’s license announced plans on Monday for a 2018 Ohio ballot issue to legalize the sale and possession of marijuana.

Categories: Misc

San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee dies suddenly at 65

Medina Gazette - 2 hours 59 min ago

SAN FRANCISCO — Mayor Ed Lee, who oversaw a technology-driven economic boom in the city that brought with it sky-high housing prices, died suddenly early Tuesday at age 65.

Categories: Misc

AGR Manet is DOWN, 1513095787

AGR Manet - 3 hours 3 min ago
Categories: Misc

Well, that escalated quickly…

Balloon Juice - 3 hours 9 min ago

You guys, I think Trump just called Senator Gillibrand a slut:

Is there a German word yet for that feeling when you think something has to be from a parody account but it’s really not? The senator clapped back:

I’m out of can’ts to even.

For reasons too convoluted to explain, I’m hanging out alone in a remote cabin that had Fox News blaring when I walked in the door. There is a bewildering array of remote controls, none of which seemed to affect the volume or power.

I follow Fox News on Twitter to see what the bastards are up to, but watching it live is another experience altogether. Non-stop fear-mongering! Even the commercials portend doom; it’s all survivor seed packets, bunker rations and gold.

I found a button that changed the channel and jumped out of the frying pan into the hell-fire — an old-timey evangelical preacher! I frantically pushed every button at once and landed on Dan’l Boone TV show reruns. That’ll do, although it’s vaguely disturbing that there’s a raccoon HEAD on his coonskin cap!

Hope your day is less of a catastrophuck!

Categories: Politics

Popular YouTubers go hands-on with the new iMac Pro ahead of December 14 launch

iDownloadBlog - 3 hours 13 min ago

Apple’s new all-in-one desktop computer aimed at creative pros, the 27-inch iMac Pro, goes on sale this Thursday starting at $4,999 for the base model. Ahead of launch, popular YouTubers Jonathan Morrison and Marques Brownlee released their respective hands-on videos.... Read the rest of this post here

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Categories: Misc

Twelve South releases new slick HiRise Pro stand for iMac and iMac Pro

9to5Mac - 3 hours 21 min ago

Twelve South has today released its latest Mac accessory alongside Apple’s announcement that iMac Pro orders will start on December 14. Even if you don’t plan on splurging on the $5,000+ iMac Pro, this new slick accessory will work for any iMac as well as many displays.


Categories: Misc

Dave Yost Behind Poor-Shaming Push For Photo ID On Food Stamp Cards

Plunderbund - 3 hours 25 min ago

A proposal to put photo identification on food-stamp cards is making its way through the Ohio General Assembly, having been passed in the state House or Representatives and now under consideration in the state Senate, with Ohio Auditor Dave Yost reportedly lobbying legislators for its passage.

The idea for IDs on food stamp cards is similar to Republican efforts to push for drug testing of assistance recipients: It’s costly and ineffective and mostly just a political cudgel to further shame, blame, and attack poor people whose lives are already a daily struggle to survive, often having to choose between buying toiletries or paying the electricity bill.

The proposal is opposed by many who work to help people struggling in poverty, including Athens County Job & Family Services Director Scott Zielinski, who wrote a letter to state Sen. Frank Hoagland, R-Mingo Junction, on Nov. 3 presenting his argument against the bill for photo ID on Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) debit cards.

“Adding photo identification to SNAP cards has not been a cost-effective measure to promote program integrity in other states, and it would be unreasonable to assume that Ohio will have different results,” Zielinski wrote. “The details of the law, and the supporting arguments in favor, concede that no real impact will occur once this is implemented.”

The bill has been introduced ostensibly as a way to prevent fraud. Its supporters have pointed to police officers finding SNAP cards in the homes of alleged drug dealers that reportedly didn’t belong to them, and police suspected the cards of having been used as a form of payment.

Zielinski predicted that the bill will not prevent fraud but could deter people from accessing services and further stigmatize the use of SNAP cards for low-income residents who rely on the assistance to feed their families.

“At the end of the day, after all of the cost and administration to add a photograph to a family’s SNAP card, and all the trouble to ‘educate’ businesses about the new process, and the needless scapegoating of poor people by suspecting them of fraud just for using a safety-net program, if the business suspects someone is using a card not authorized to them… the business calls their county JFS to report their suspicions. That’s it. The transaction still proceeds.”

Cards are issued to families, not individuals, so federal rules assure that those authorized to use the care and with knowledge of the PIN can use it, and retailers cannot stop a person from completing the transaction if their picture is not on the card, Zielinski noted.

“Families have multiple members that may do the shopping in any given week, so the only way to account for the new photo requirement would be to issue multiple SNAP cards per household, which defeats the entire purpose of decreasing fraud,” he said.

If the bill proceeds, Ohio will spend millions of dollars just to appear “tough on need” and sufficiently judgmental of the poor people who rely on the service, Zielinski said.

“If the goal of the bill is to reduce the number of people using the service by stigmatizing users, it should proceed. If the goal of the bill is to reduce fraud/abuse, it should not,” he said.

State Rep. Jay Edwards, the sole Republican in the Ohio House to oppose the bill, said that while eliminating fraud and abuse of the food assistance program is a worthy goal, after investigating this proposal and finding out its costs and apparent lack of effectiveness, he could not support it.

Edwards said that he didn’t realize until this week that he was the lone Republican to vote against House Bill 50 on Nov. 1. Two Democrats joined the rest of the Republicans in voting for it, with the legislation passing the Ohio House 64 to 31.

“The bill said it’s trying to reduce fraud and that’s great – reducing fraud that takes money away from the people who actually need it,” Edwards said.

But after diving into the details, Edwards said that federal regulations already exempt 85 percent of program users from any photo requirement as an undo hardship due to lack of transportation, health issues and other factors.

“So right off the top you’re only working with 15 percent,” he said.

Ohio Auditor Dave Yost has been pushing for the photo ID proposal, Edwards said, citing law enforcement finding the cards during drug busts. But Edwards said the photo ID would not stop anybody from using the card, regardless of whose picture is on it, because cashiers are barred by federal rules from asking for the card anyway, and anybody in the family is allowed to use it.

Furthermore, Edwards said, there’s no way to prove that the drug dealer didn’t steal any SNAP card found in her or his possession or otherwise prove how the card got there.

Another issue, Edwards said, is that fraud can take place on the part of the businesses, with cards being “swiped” at the register without a product actually being sold and the cash then split and pocketed.

“And we’re not doing anything about fraud on that end, and really I don’t think we’re doing anything about fraud on the other end honestly. In theory it sounded good, but when you break it all down, it wasn’t going to do much,” he said. “You can’t check the card. It wasn’t going to do anything at all.”

This is especially important, the House member said, because the program will cost millions of dollars just to get up and running. The Legislative Service Commission has estimated initial start-up costs between $1.5 million and $2 million, then ongoing annual costs between $1 million and $3 million.

Edwards said he spoke to legislators in Massachusettes, where SNAP ID legislation was enacted. That state has half the population and half the SNAP recipients of Ohio, and Edwards said he was told it cost them $8 million.

“It’s going to be a great cost to the state for very little return,” he said. “I don’t think we’re going to see much fraud being fixed by this legislation.”

Edwards said many more people are benefiting from SNAP than people abusing it.

“We’ve got a lot of problems in this state; I’m not sure we should be going after this subset of people who are living below 130 percent of the poverty line,” Edwards said. “And 80 percent of them are living below 100 percent, living in extreme poverty. I’m not sure why we’re going after them and not getting anything in return. It’s going to be a great cost to taxpayers.”

Categories: Politics

Blast from past - Colleen Cavanaugh gets tenure in 1996 at @Harvard

The tree of life - 3 hours 36 min ago
Can't remember who sent this to me but thought I would share.  It is an article about Colleen Cavanaugh, my undergraduate advisor, getting tenure at Harvard in 1996.

This is from the "Tree of Life Blog" of Jonathan Eisen, an evolutionary biologist and Open Access advocate at the University of California, Davis. For short updates, follow me on Twitter.
Categories: Bio